Just wanted to see what ppl on here like and way screened or solid bottom board
Just wanted to see what ppl on here like and way screened or solid bottom board
Screened with a removable drawer underneath. Lets the mites drop through and gives plenty of ventilation. Push the drawer in with the wide side of the board up seals it for winter. Down leaves a gap to vent in summer. Full out and it's a whole hive vent. Also when you do your OA treatment you get a daily mite count just by pulling out the drawer. Also with a little sticky substance in summer it traps insects that drop through the screen on their own.
I'm in Central Texas where we have high winds most of the time. It blows from the North then retreats from the South. The corrugated plastic you can put in pretty much defeats the purpose. It collects trash that the bees can't clean up. This brings wax moths and all sorts of things you probably don't want. Cleaning that piece is easy, but just one more thing you have to do for bee keeping weekly. It can get hot in Texas no doubt. Ventilation when it's "HOT" summer time I suppose it's got it's perks. I never got a good build up my first year of bees because I speculate that the venting was too drafty. Removed them and they did better. Regulating brood temp is what bees need, so in my thoughts toss the dang things out. You can try them if you want, but for me living in windy conditions they were a poor choice. Some people have luck with them as they have a lot of rainfall. Lets the water out. Small hive beetles I suppose they fall through, but they don't die. Oil traps under screens are the way to go if your trying to kill Small hive beetles.
Great for venting in 100 degree weather, but pretty much it's a gimmick from what I can tell. Best thing for bees is to be able to regulate brood temperature.
I used Rusty Hills Farm design to make a hybrid screened bottom board that you can put an oil or diatomasious earth pan underneath to help with SHB and varroa. Thanks Rusty. Go to his web site and use the easy to follow plans.
I am curious on this subject too. I didn't use screened bottom boards my first season but I am planning on building them this winter for spring use. I am curious if people use them more for ventilation or for pest management? I have heard people having issues with swarming when using them wide open. I usually insert nickles below my inner cover during hot spells to increase ventilation. This seemed to help with bearding so I am not sure I would benefit from increased ventilation from a SBB.
Solids because screens aren't worth the added expense and the list of the negatives is long.
I switched all of my hives back to solid bottom boards this summer and did have better results also. With screened bottoms, the draftiness in the hive lead to slower buildups, small hive beetle larvae buildup on top of the plastic board if I left it in very long, small hive beetles can run below the screen away from bees, allowed in light that I generally felt that bees would not normally want in a feral hive, etc.
With that being said, it was convenient to monitor mites.
My hives did much better once I returned back to solid boards. I monitored mites with powdered sugar rolls and let the bees corner SHB better. There is research to show that higher hive temps (by a few degrees) makes it harder on mites and better regulated hive temps allow more bees to perform tasks besides clustering on chilled brood.
I caught three swarms last spring all in a couple of day time frame and all within a mile of each other. All were hived in new brand new equipment. Two of the new hives were brushy mountain hives with screened bottom boards and the other was Mann lake hive with solid bottom board. Frames and foundation were all new and same in each. Hives were kept in the same yard within feet of each other and received the same attention. The two with screened bottom boards were slow growing and barely built out a single deep, while the solid bottom hive built out two deeps.
That is probably the most controlled comparison I will ever be able to do, and although there are still many possible variables that could have been in play, I am convinced that the draftiness of a screened bottom board is not ideal for the bees. Whether it's 30 degrees or 105 degrees, they need a relatively tight hive in order to regulate the temperature of the brood nest.
Most complaints against screened bottoms usually end up being personal preferences versus actual problems with the screen. Bees control ventilation with both kinds of bottoms, they do better in winter in your area with solid bottoms. This was shown in the Iowa test with the Russian bees when screened bottoms required more stores for winter than those on solid bottoms. The winter survival was the same, just one required the bees to create more heat and burn more stores, about 20 to 30% more. This was in an Iowa winter with the screen completely open. The sticky board will close the bottom if desired, all you have to do is slide it in.
During spring and summer the screened bottom is more efficient cooling the hive. This is shown by the Australian study done by Doug Somerville in which 60 colonies were fitted with screened bottoms and compared to 60 colonies with solid bottom boards. The screened bottom colonies made 15% more honey showing that the bees were more efficient during the productive period than the solid bottom board colonies. Screened bottoms help with varroa, about 10 to 20% of all varroa mites I find on my sticky boards are alive. If they had dropped on a solid bottom they would reattach to adult bees that go by, dropping through the screen prevents this.
If you use powdered sugar dusting it is much easier with a screened bottom, there is no need to remove the bottom board to allow the sugar and mites to fall through to the ground.
Beetles and wax moths enter through the hive entrance as easily as they do through a screened bottom, and the beetle larvae exit the entrance of the hive instead of falling through the bottom into the oil pan.
Hive trash fall out of the hive eliminating the need to scrape and clean the bottom boards. My bees don't put propolis on the screen except a small area at the edge, if they do add a little a pressure washer nocks it off.
I use screened bottoms on all of my nucs and colonies and have no complaints about their efficiency.
40 years - 25 colonies, 32 Nucs - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic
Solid bottoms on all my hives. The hives seemed happier. They build comb faster it seems.
J and R Apiary
NW Ohio USA
Solids!!! Save cost and Labor.
I have some of each. I have not noticed a big difference between the two.
On the hives with SBB, I will pull it out about an inch at a time from the front as the temps increase and the bees beard. An inch seems to be enough to stop the bearding until it heats up again and I then pull it out another inch.
I then reverse this as the temps lower, by pushing it in incrementally.
adg72484, yes to both questions. The only problems I have was when I was careless and left to much space on the board inserted in the back. My girls fixed my problem by propalizing that opening. I've slightly modified his design by putting 2 pieces of 1x2 on the edges of the back piece to cover up more of the draft space and to hold onto when you insert and remove that piece. Those 2 pieces go vertically on the back board.
For me, this is the best of both screened and solid. It seals nearly completely and kills every mite and beetle that falls to the bottom of the hive. The downsides include the upfront expense and the added labor and expense the 4-6 times per year that I wash the pans and change the oil. I like having something that works as an IPM 24/7 and reduces the amount of treatments necessary to keep the bees healthy. Going on year 3 using these and have never had to treat for beetles. Have seen hundreds in the oil but they have never been able to affect any of my hives.
I use screened bottoms in the Summer and solids in the Winter, except this Winter I ran out of solids so some still have screens (closed with mite check boards). I swap the bottom boards when I check for stores and broodnest location. It's a little extra work, but...
If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
The SBB has been around for a long time and has failed to come into widespread usage. The desperation in the battle against Varroa distructor brought this mostly harmful fad back to life. In your summer heat it may not be harmful but for any cool months it is something the bees need to overcome. They just don't benefit the bees.
Screen over solid, opening in the back, so that I can insert a mite-monitoring board from behind. When I only had the screen bottom, my bees did not draw combs all the way down. One problem with this setting is, I occasionally see wax moth larva between the screen and the solid bottoms, because the bees cannot patrol the area (we do not have SHB problem here). Also, I thought this setting would allow me to do OAV from behind through the screen, but apparently it was not a good idea, because some OA vapor crystalizes on the screen even during summer. I guess if I were to set up a new hive, I would just use a solid bottom and stick a mite monitoring board from front (because I only count dead/fallen mites, the board does not have to be sticky).
I went a differrent rout. I use solid and put a slatted rack on the bottom board. Built the plan from beescources build it page. Their description says it helps with ventilation and moisture in the hive. Of course you can't use a sticky board with it. It did help some with bearding in summer. I am so new that I don't know if I am dumb or smart in doing this. So I guess in answer to your question, new guy using solid bottom board.